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The Descent of Man

Narrated by: Jonny Philips
Length: 3 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (484 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry, read by Jonny Philips.

Grayson Perry has been thinking about masculinity - what it is, how it operates, why little boys are thought to be made of slugs and snails - since he was a boy. Now, in this funny and necessary book, he turns round to look at men with a clear eye and ask, what sort of men would make the world a better place for everyone? What would happen if we rethought the old, outdated macho version of manhood and embraced a different idea of what makes a man?

Apart from giving up the coronary-inducing stress of always being 'right' and the vast new wardrobe options, the real benefit might be that a newly fitted masculinity will allow men to have better relationships - and that's happiness, right?

Grayson Perry admits he's not immune from the stereotypes himself - as the psychoanalysts say, 'If you spot it, you've got it' - and his thoughts on everything from power to physical appearance, from emotions to a brand-new Manifesto for Men, are shot through with honesty, tenderness and the belief that, for everyone to benefit, upgrading masculinity has to be something men decide to do themselves. They have nothing to lose but their hang-ups.

©2016 Grayson Perry (P)2016 Penguin

Critic reviews

"Grayson Perry for King and Queen of England. Imagine how brilliant our country would look if he was." (Caitlin Moran)

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Truely brilliant!!

The most fascinatingly informed book I've ever read Grayson you're a legend! I had to read it in one sitting as I couldn't put it down- thank you for such an intelligent book!

4 people found this helpful

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Thoughtful analysis

Great readShould be a required text for boys and girls from the age of 10!

4 people found this helpful

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Great read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's certainly thought-provoking but it's key strength is taking a difficult subject and making it funny.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

Grayson Peer's wisdom, sensitivity and daring admissions of his own evolution as a man over time show him to have a strength and innate power that is massively attractive in a man; a Real Man. I would love all my male friends to read and learn from this book that they are more valuable to women as themselves and not as predictable stereotypes. Thank you, Grayson.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting

Interesting thoughts coming from a man about men and their built-in actions and reactions. Grayson Perry may not be an ideal spokesman for the gender but he is totally honest about men and maleness. I hope that once these thoughts have been aired they will be picked up and ruminated on by men and boys the world over. Perhaps then the world will be a better place.

The essay was well read, making it very enjoyable and allowing Grayson Perry come through. Will this be the beginning of a new chapter for the human race? I hope so!

4 people found this helpful

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Perfect for my studies. Tough one for my morales

Looking for a book to teach me about the new wave of masculinity and all the different sides to it, this couldn’t have done so better. Planting multiple seeds of ideas for my project (Foundation Degree in Art, Final Major Project), I have found many inspirations through this book and so would recommend to any other artist doing the same.

In terms of how it was written, being a young male, I found a lot of the concepts rather subjective and a matter of opinion; however Perry has casted his opinion on these topics without much thought left for other viewpoints. He has made statements in the book which could easily be up for debate, yet are not. Phillips’s performance in narrating emphasised this sense of arrogance through his somewhat aggressive reading tone.

This is not to say I disliked or disagreed with the whole book, I was continuously interested in the themes and topics; my only comment is on the general one-viewpoint tone throughout.

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Great

Really interesting and thought provoking and a really good insight into the mind of the modern man. It was also good to think from the male perspective.

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Eye-opening!

Remarkable! I highly recommend this to everyone... the content is paradigm-shifting and the narration is powerful.

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If your ready to reflect then this is for you

I really enjoyed being challenged and made to recognise deeper issue with gender.
if your able to reflect on gender and wider issues then it is for you but be prepared to be challenged.

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Minor tweak in narration please?

Narration was fine, but I am in a noisy car and struggled to hear the lower inflections...

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  • Edmond Zippo
  • 01-06-20

We must adapt

Change is required in our society for it to get better. This book lists what we men do wrong and what we should do instead. It can seem like a gargantuan task, and maybe it is, but if we don't try, we'll never know. Listen to this book.

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  • ewa-aurelia
  • 17-11-18

Really enjoyed the insight

Although not firmly based in biological sciences about sex differences, the perspective on masculinity offered by the author is accurate and insightful. The beautiful verses of the story are a delight to hear and the message is very important for today's societal/economic transition.